Cheers to Happy Endings!
Judy McCombs, Columbus Spanish Immersion Academy, Early Language Learning Chair
The 2013-2014 school year has come to its end. We made it through a tough year of SLOs, TBTs, BLTs and OTES! So much was new this year….so many of us are glad it’s over. Time to regroup, relax, and gear up for the next school year.
At CSIA (Columbus Spanish Immersion Academy), where I teach kindergarten, we are always glad the end of the year has come! Since we opened in 1987, we instilled the tradition of a cultural study as part of our Spanish immersion program. This cultural study includes a cultural fiesta, and a cultural show where we showcase an area of the world where Spanish is spoken. This year we studied Central America.
For our cultural fiesta this year teachers and parents cooked up arroz con pollo, empanadas, pupusas, beef with chimi churi sauce! MMMM! On a rainy Saturday afternoon in May, staff, students, and parents came to CSIA for a fiesta that celebrates the world language we teach, Spanish. During our cultural show students from kindergarten thru 6th grade came on stage to recite, sing, perform a skit or dance! All is done in Spanish! The songs, dances, and poems are all typical of the country the class learned about. My kindergarteners danced “El Punto” in folk costumes I brought back from Panama.
At our cultural show, teachers are happy! We are happy because we get to share the love of our countries with our students. We are also proud of the students, watching them on the stage! Parents that come to watch are happy! Children are excited to be wearing authentic folk costumes. Our little guys with drawn on “macho mustaches” smile from ear to ear! It’s a “happy-feel good” day! What a great way to end the school year! Our cultural show reaffirms that what we are doing, teaching a world language, makes a difference! It’s definitely worth the year long struggles. Our end of the year cultural study also reminds us that one cannot teach a world language without also including the culture of those countries where that world language is spoken. Language and culture go hand in hand!
Our school year, in spite of the hardships we must endure, always ends on a happy note. So too does my tenure as chair for OFLA’s Early Language Learning Committee (NOT to be confused with English Language Learning). I have served OFLA for 5 years in this capacity. The time I spent on this committee helped to improve my own practices and introduced me to some spectacular teachers! Lori Winnie will be the new ELL chair. I wish her the best and hope you will look to her for support. I encourage all K-8 World Language teachers to join and help out on this valuable committee. I plan on continuing my involvement in OFLA. Please know that I can always be reached via email for support. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chair – Early Language Learning Committee